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Simple question in the title.

I'm not (yet) advocating to any side. Maybe after reading some well formuled thoughts.

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  • 3
    Thank you for posting this!
    – terdon Mod
    Jul 21 at 15:59
  • 3
    I think this question would stand better in time if we focused it just on the idea of allowing Powershell answers, and removed the speculation/opinion of the ecosystem around it.
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Jul 21 at 16:32
  • Jeff, as the first answer shows, it is really easy to just reply thinking about the "tool" and not the strategic consequences. The kernel of the question is really what relies underneath all the corporate moves torwards the linux ecosystem. And such central discussion is always avoided, because it is too abstract or other excuses. And here you are asking to remove that part.
    – DrBeco
    Jul 21 at 16:35
  • 2
    Well yes. Because this site is not about Linux, it isn't about any ideology, it is about the technical ecosystem of UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems. What our personal views on software development practices are is completely irrelevant. You seem to think that this site is about free software, but it isn't. After all, the actual platform we are using (StackExchange) is closed source and proprietary and, believe it or not, much of the site is running on Windows servers: nickcraver.com/blog/2016/02/17/….
    – terdon Mod
    Jul 21 at 16:44
  • 1
    I never thought about the "site" itself, but the opinion of the members. The site may be proprietary, but most of us are not employees in that sense.
    – DrBeco
    Jul 21 at 16:57
  • 1
    Oh, indeed. And many of us feel very strongly about free software. But that isn't what we base the site scope on, that's all I'm saying. And in any case, this is a free software tool, it's released under the MIT license, one of the most permissive ones around. So even if we were to exclude non-free tools, this wouldn't be one of them.
    – terdon Mod
    Jul 21 at 17:07
  • But I understand your point. It is a fair point. If we are to be on point and discuss only the tool and not strategy, which may be off-topic on this site, then ok, allow me to edit and trim my question to the basic core.
    – DrBeco
    Jul 21 at 17:09
  • Oh, discussing strategy is fine too! I would just open a new question for it both so we don't confuse the specific (is powershell on topic) with the general, and so we don't get distracted by the fact that powershell is open source and under the MIT license so it isn't really a good example. But do feel free to open a new discussion if you think that would be useful. Just remember that this site isn't Linux-specific, and the UNIX world is much, much more proprietary. (oh, and SuSe isn't a thing, they've been bought by Novell :( )
    – terdon Mod
    Jul 21 at 17:22
  • what is the link to your new question? I will edit mine and add a link in the footnote for it.
    – DrBeco
    Jul 21 at 18:31
  • I haven't asked one. I was just saying that if you think it is useful, feel free to open a discussion.
    – terdon Mod
    Jul 22 at 12:31
  • idk why exactly, but I found the "our Unix&Linux community" a bit jarring, and echoing the dogmatist tone the question had initially. I took the liberty of editing it... Also, I think it should be useful to consider not only answers using Powershell, but also questions about it.
    – ilkkachu
    Jul 31 at 10:14
  • @terdon SUSE is once again a separate company, owned by EQT Partners (an investment organization) and publicly traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Aug 2 at 7:34
  • @StephenKitt oh. Thanks, I hadn't heard.
    – terdon Mod
    Aug 2 at 8:10
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Any shell that can be installed and run on *nix systems is on topic here as long as it is being run on *nix. So, "how can I use PowerShell to do foo on Linux?" is fine since PowerShell is actually available for Linux. See PowerShell is open sourced and is available on Linux and Installing PowerShell on Linux.

So if people are using this on *nix, then their questions should be on topic here. And if someone is asking a general "how can I do this" question, then an answer using PowerShell should be fine, as long as the answer would actually work on a *nix system and isn't depending on any Windows-specific resources.

Additionally, we have decided that WSL is on topic and I would imagine WSL users are even more likely to use PowerShell (I guess). With all this in mind, I don't really see any reason to make PowerShell off topic. It's a shell that can be used on *nix, so how is it different to any other non-standard shell like fish or zsh or anything else?

Finally, note that this site isn't dedicated to free/libre software. UNIX is very much non-free and a lot of our content and scope is about that. The fact that something is owned by a private company is not a relevant piece of information when deciding if it is on topic here. Nor is whether or not something is open sourced or free software. Yes, most of us here have a strong liking for the free software movement but it isn't an integral part of what this site does.

So, I vote for allowing PowerShell as long as it is being used on a *nix system, just like we do for any other tool.

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  • 4
    This echoes my own opinion on this matter. Powershell is an application usable on Unix-like systems. Question relating to its use are on-topic here to the degree that people think that they will find an audience that is likely to solve those issues. It may well be that some Powershell issues are better answered on SuperUser or elsewhere due to the lack of Powershell users here, but that does not in itself disqualify those questions from U&L. (compare questions on U&L about Vim and Bioinformatics, two topics that even have dedicate SE sites).
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Jul 21 at 16:20
  • Thirded <!-- 7 more characters to go -->
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Jul 21 at 16:31
  • "Any shell that can be installed and run on *nix systems is on topic here as long as it is being run on *nix." Also, any *nix shell (and related commands) that can be run on non-*nix systems is also on topic. Cygwin, for example. Would your differentiation of "allowing PowerShell as long as it is being used on a *nix system" mean that I could ask how to use Get-ChildItem in a script running on Linux but not in that same script running natively under Windows?
    – roaima
    Aug 12 at 11:26
  • @roaima I would argue that, in the context of what is on topic here, cygwin qualifies as *nix.
    – terdon Mod
    Aug 12 at 15:41
9

Many questions about scripting or programming are on-topic for U&L, especially if they're relatively simple text- or data-processing tasks. Commonly shell, sed, awk, Perl and Python. C, C++, Java, and many others too...but any except the simplest questions get referred to Stack Overflow - as would many Perl or Python questions (like writing a web app in Mojolicious or Django)

Powershell is only available for one unix-like system (Linux), is well-suited to Windows scripting tasks, but not well-suited to *nix scripting tasks, nor is it a language that many here will have much expertise in[1]. *nix systems can run .BAT or .CMD scripts with command.com or cmd.exe via DOS emulators or WINE, but that doesn't mean questions about batch-file scripting are appropriate for U&L.

Powershell questions are, IMO, more appropriate for https://superuser.com/ or perhaps https://stackoverflow.com/ (or in rare instances, https://serverfault.com/). And Powershell questions will get better answers on those sites because there are more people on them who use it regularly.

[1] I predict that the most common answer to any "How do I do X in powershell" questions will be "Why are you using powershell for that? Use bash/zsh/awk/sed/grep/perl/python instead". And then it will turn out that the OP isn't even using any kind of *nix, they're using Windows. We already get lots of questions from people trying to do things in bash that they should use a text-processing tool or language for, but at least they're on-topic because they're doing it on some kind of *nix or using *nix tools.

2

The question initially mentioned only Powershell answers, not questions. I'm not sure if that's what was meant, but I see a distinction there.

I can't see why questions about Powershell on Unix-likes would be off-topic. Then again, I have no idea if anyone here has any expertise in answering them, so anyone asking about Powershell in general might get better answers on superuser.com or where-ever.

Answers using Powershell to general questions about how to do something on Unix-likes, without specifying any tools, would also seem to be equally on-topic exactly the same way answers using e.g. Ruby would be. That said, I might consider downvoting them because most Unix-likes probably don't have Powershell, giving such answers a rather limited usefulness.

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